Remember the “Information Superhighway”?

December 1st, 2007 16 Comments

This piece in CIO.com, “In Defense of Gen Y Workers” is the most interesting read I’ve had in a while.

I highly recommend having a read, regardless of your generational affiliation, if only to experience the emotions it elicits. Setting the content aside, the author has definitely found a way to get her audience in a tizzy, both to support her and to flame her. 105 comments today, up from 89 when I first read the story last week, attest to this.

I love how people need to align themselves–my school, my company, my team, my city, my generation. There are so many parallels with Gen Y workers and Gen X workers, like me, 10 years ago. We’re actually not that different, aside from age.

How many of you got eye-rolls or blank stares when you enthusiastically preached about the utility of the Interwebs as a business tool? “The Internet is just porn and stock quotes” is my all-time favorite quote from a Boomer sales rep who sold mainframes and dumb terminals back in the day (with apologies to Lou Springer). As I get older, I repeat it more. Senility setting in I guess. We were all merging onto the Information Superhighway, and thanks to Al Gore and his Internet.

Fast forward 10 years; how many of you get a similar response when you talk about Facebook, Twitter or blogging? Heh, how many of you glaze over or turn off your brain when someone talks about Facebook, Twitter or blogging? It’s not a bad, and there’s no right or wrong. Point is, I used to care and wonder why people didn’t get it. Are they crazy? The Interwebs will change the world.

Now, I just talk and whatever happens, happens.

David has a nostalgic post recounting his Oracle career. I also remember thinking the tools we used to code (Developer/2000 Forms and Reports) were pretty slick, when compared to good old Word/Notepad. I joined Oracle in 1996 as a sales consultant and left the Bay Area for Chicago right as the Bubble started inflating. Friends from college got rich starting companies like Excite and working for options. The IPO was the exit strategy of choice, making loads of paper millionaires. Unlike the horror stories you hear, I know quite a few people who turned paper millions into real assets.

Meanwhile, I was in Chicago, pushing Interwebs to client-server customers. Let’s just say the reps didn’t take me out much. Oracle in the Midwest had more of a blank stare factor than a cool one. I’ve always been in Apps, so when people did know Oracle, inevitably, it was for database, not Apps. The late 90s in Chicago was marked by a mass exodus of Apps reps and sales consultants to PeopleSoft.

PeopleSoft was the enemy then, with their smug attitudes (“We’re people people!”) and their blue laptop backpacks. I was so jealous of those backpacks. At the time, the Toshiba Tecras we carried were something like 15 pounds. Add the external disk drive, the adapter brick and any papers, and our briefcase style bags were heavy enough to send you to the chiropractor every week. Corporate wouldn’t sign off on laptop backpacks, so yeah, I was a hater.

Sales makes you think funny things, e.g. someone at another company is my enemy.

Obviously, a lot has changed since then. I now work with not one, but two people people, Paul and Rich. All the acquisitions have dramatically changed our culture. This is for the better, since we’re mixing more ideas and people with different experiences together. The culture has changed more since the acquisitions began in 2005 than it did between 1996 and 2004.

I’m in my second tour of duty at Oracle, and next year, I’ll hit my 10 years of total service mark. It’s been an interesting ride so far, and I expect that to continue.

What do you think? Sound off in comments.


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16 Responses to “Remember the “Information Superhighway”?”

  1. Rich Manalang - FriendFeed Says:

    postedRemember the “Information Superhighway”?on Oracle AppsLab

  2. gay porn stars Says:

    In Defense of Gen Y Workers” is the most interesting read I’ve had in a while. I highly recommend having a read, regardless of your generational affiliation, if only to experience the emotions it elicits. …http://theappslab.com/2007/12/01/remember-the-information-superhighway/Oracle AppsLab http://theappslab.com

  3. The Feature Says:

    PR and others are figuring our how to apply 2.0 to be more productive. We have started to see a sea change internally, it’s very exciting. Oracle is a big company, but many of these teams are extremely nimble and innovative. In your recentpost, Jake, you compared the adoption of the internet in early 90s to the current popularity of Facebook, Twitter or blogging… Could you elaborate? It’s a similar time and a similar feeling to the mid-90s. Same change agents, same resistance, but

  4. Mihaï Says:

    symmetric, anyone might hate you now because of the Oracle’s acquisitions?

  5. Mihaï Says:

    symmetric, anyone might hate you now because of the Oracle’s acquisitions?

  6. Jake Says:

    I’m sure lots of people hate me for whatever reasons, but b/c of Oracle’s acquisitions? Don’t understand.

  7. Jake Says:

    I’m sure lots of people hate me for whatever reasons, but b/c of Oracle’s acquisitions? Don’t understand.

  8. Floyd Says:

    Jake,

    Took a similar Oracle ride at just about the same time as your first tour of duty (my Techra did send me to the chiropractor). Though I’ve been outside now for some time, I’ve watch the company culture morph – especially over the past 24 months. The cross-pollination from the acquisitions has been very good for both the company and the industry. The lesson to be learned? Life is better when we bridge the gulf. It’s about not whether you’re a baby boomer, an Oracle employee, a Standford alum, a member of the RedSox Nation, or whatever group you align yourself with. It’s about sharing your ideas across alignments and group boundaries, as well as being open to considering the ideas that others share across those same boundaries.

  9. Floyd Says:

    Jake,

    Took a similar Oracle ride at just about the same time as your first tour of duty (my Techra did send me to the chiropractor). Though I’ve been outside now for some time, I’ve watch the company culture morph – especially over the past 24 months. The cross-pollination from the acquisitions has been very good for both the company and the industry. The lesson to be learned? Life is better when we bridge the gulf. It’s about not whether you’re a baby boomer, an Oracle employee, a Standford alum, a member of the RedSox Nation, or whatever group you align yourself with. It’s about sharing your ideas across alignments and group boundaries, as well as being open to considering the ideas that others share across those same boundaries.

  10. Jake Says:

    Well put. Thanks as always. I didn’t know you were an Oracle alumnus.
    Re. the Tecra, I started with the 720 and eventually went up to the 740, which boasted a huge screen (maybe 15″), but man, that was a brick. I was stoked to get a 530, more power at about half the weight. Sweet.

  11. Jake Says:

    Well put. Thanks as always. I didn’t know you were an Oracle alumnus.
    Re. the Tecra, I started with the 720 and eventually went up to the 740, which boasted a huge screen (maybe 15″), but man, that was a brick. I was stoked to get a 530, more power at about half the weight. Sweet.

  12. Meg Says:

    Interesting, I read the CIO article and had that cringe reaction that “man that girl is going to get bloodied”. You can’t have that kind of writing style and not expect to elicit a strong reaction.

    I had the thought that how much of the “GenY” thing is really just about being young and [over]confident. I certainly remember knowing everything when I was just starting in the workforce (and yes I know many stay I still suffer from that disease). Anyway, it was fun entertainment for sure.

    As far as the Techra I also had one of those and felt superior about my computing power. I also had a Sun Tadpole in which I enjoyed having my very own root password. Talk about chiropractic, I had to have someone help me get the darn thing onto the rental car shuttle bus as I could not lift the suitcase I had it in for travel.

    All this talk about perspective is starting to make me feel old! I think I’m going to post something on “The MyFace” to prove my youth now.

  13. Meg Says:

    Interesting, I read the CIO article and had that cringe reaction that “man that girl is going to get bloodied”. You can’t have that kind of writing style and not expect to elicit a strong reaction.

    I had the thought that how much of the “GenY” thing is really just about being young and [over]confident. I certainly remember knowing everything when I was just starting in the workforce (and yes I know many stay I still suffer from that disease). Anyway, it was fun entertainment for sure.

    As far as the Techra I also had one of those and felt superior about my computing power. I also had a Sun Tadpole in which I enjoyed having my very own root password. Talk about chiropractic, I had to have someone help me get the darn thing onto the rental car shuttle bus as I could not lift the suitcase I had it in for travel.

    All this talk about perspective is starting to make me feel old! I think I’m going to post something on “The MyFace” to prove my youth now.

  14. Jake Says:

    I can’t decide if her attitude is the moxie of youth or a generational thing. She definitely went after the shock factor though, which is why I kept reading. We have one of those professions where being in the know is crucial. I remember the ultimate insult during the Boom was such-and-such person “doesn’t get it”.

    The laptop thing is funny. Our Apps SCs used to tote a Sun E500 on demos to show 10.6. SC. A lot of computing power. Different world now, my Macbook has the power of an E500 at a fraction of the weight.

  15. Jake Says:

    I can’t decide if her attitude is the moxie of youth or a generational thing. She definitely went after the shock factor though, which is why I kept reading. We have one of those professions where being in the know is crucial. I remember the ultimate insult during the Boom was such-and-such person “doesn’t get it”.

    The laptop thing is funny. Our Apps SCs used to tote a Sun E500 on demos to show 10.6. SC. A lot of computing power. Different world now, my Macbook has the power of an E500 at a fraction of the weight.

  16. The Feature » Interview with the guys from OracleAppsLab Says:

    [...] your recent post, Jake, you compared the adoption of the internet in early 90s to the current popularity of [...]

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